“As a Friend” – Manila Bulletin


Dr Jun Ynares

For reasons unknown to those unaccustomed to social media, Baguio has suddenly become the unofficial “Friendship Capital of the Philippines”. We were told that Baguio City won the title after a few celebrities decided to take a day trip to what is officially “The Summer Capital of the Philippines”.

We were told that one of them made the public understand that the day trip was purely on the basis of “friendship”.

“As a friend,” he said.

We will not blame Internet users who nicknamed Baguio the new “friendship” label.

After all, many special friendships were born and turned into romance in the City of Pines.

We also won’t fault the celebrities involved in the day trip. We were told that said trip had some unsavory issues behind it. When we face setbacks and adversities in life, it is recommended that we seek the company of friends.

Many physicians support this point of view.

For example, the US-based Mayo Clinic claims that friendships not only enrich your life, but “improve your health as well.” “Good friends are good for you,” the Mayo Clinic says in an online article. “Friends avoid loneliness and also give you the opportunity to provide the companionship you need,” he added.

Here are the other benefits of being with other people “as a friend” as mentioned in the Mayo Clinic article.

He says “Friends can also increase your sense of belonging and your purpose; increase your happiness and reduce your stress; improve your self-confidence and self-esteem; help you cope with the trauma associated with adverse events such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.

“Friends also encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as binge drinking or lack of exercise,” the Mayo Clinic article added.

Friends also play an important role for people who have embarked on an important mission in life.

Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was the consummate friendship builder. He had a good number of friends who traveled with him in life as he pursued his most ardent dream for his country.

Among them, the brothers Paterno Pedro, Maximo and Antonio with whom he shared ideas, engaged in lively exchanges and lively debates. There was Dr Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian academician, with whom our national hero had what we would today call a “friendship at a distance”. He must have also been a mentor for the national hero and has been credited with translating Dr Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere into the German language.

There was the Spanish Governor General named Emilio Perinat Terrero whose friendship with Dr Rizal ensured that the latter’s “subversive” novels would not be totally banned in the country. Perhaps we can say that even our national hero knew the importance of having “friends in high places”. Then there was the patriot Maximo Viola de Bulacan. Like our national hero, he was a doctor of medicine. They were both involved in the propaganda movement and had traveled together in Europe.

Dr Viola is said to have provided Dr Rizal with significant financial assistance. It has been said that Dr Rizal suffered severe financial constraints in his attempt to publish one of his novels. He felt so desperate about his situation that he almost tore up the Noli Me Tangere manuscript. He thought he could never get this historic novel published because he didn’t have the money to finance its printing.

Dr Viola allegedly came to her aid and gave her the money. Of the national hero, you could say he was blessed with those who were truly friends “in need” and who are “friends, indeed”. It seems that people who pursue life-changing missions attract loyal friends and who end up sharing their passion and commitment.

It was true of Dr. Rizal.

This was true for the person who walked the earth thousands of years before Dr. Rizal.

The Man was Jesus Christ.

He attracted a band of loyalists who continued his mission. Their friendship with him was so strong that they were ready to die for him and for what he stood for.

The point is, 10 of Christ’s original 12 best friends died a painful and horrific death while preaching his good news.

This good news still rings out today and remains the most important message we all need to hear.

This good news says that God is waiting for us to return to His Love, to be reconciled to Him, and to live meaningful lives under His Reign.

The good news is that God loves us so much and wants us to live like his children.

And like His friends.

* For your comments, please email them to [email protected] or send it to Block 6 Lot 10 Sta. Barbara 1 horn. Bradley St., Mission Hills Subd., Brgy. San Roque, town of Antipolo, Rizal.



About Norma Wade

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